Keele University launches Institute for Social Inclusion

Keele University has launched a new research Institute to tackle the issues of social inequality on a local, national and global scale.

The Keele Institute for Social Inclusion brings together a vibrant community of academic researchers and external partners, who will work collaboratively to tackle issues including food poverty, educational exclusion, mental health, cultural regeneration and community resilience. The Institute’s work will seek to identify, explain and overcome specific social, economic and cultural obstacles to social inclusion, in order to help people realise their full potential.

Partners and representatives from organisations from across the West Midlands attended the launch of the Institute at an event at Keele University this week, where academics, practitioners and professionals explored the themes that the Institute will tackle.

Professor Derek McGhee, Director of the Keele Institute for Social Inclusion, commented:

“Our work will respond to the need for inclusion and respect for all, in particular those groups and people who have been disempowered, marginalised or underrepresented. Achieving a greater degree of social inclusion is of critical importance to the development of just, integrated, diverse, cohesive and thriving societies in an increasingly interdependent world. Our aim is to work with external partners to address those social harms that cause people to be unnecessarily constrained in realising their full potential. We want our research to be of value to partners working in this area, and we welcome the insights and knowledge that external partners can bring.”

KISI launch

Professor Derek McGhee, Professor Shane O’Neill, Ruth Smeeth MP, Professor Trevor McMillan and Gareth Snell MP

Keele University already works with many community partners on collaborative endeavours, including Staffordshire-based arts organisation B-Arts. Susan Clarke, Artistic Director at B-Arts, commented:

“It’s important for organisations like ours to collaborate with universities, and in particular for us to collaborate with Keele, because there’s such a wealth of knowledge that’s resident within the academics, researchers and students - they’re people who are real experts in their field. The Keele Institute for Social Inclusion will really drive collaboration, by creating frameworks that allow people at the University to really engage with communities, and to engage with partners like B-Arts who can connect them with communities.”

Over 130 people attended the launch event, which included workshops co-hosted by academic and external partner organisations, and presentations from Professor Shane O’Neill, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Advancement and Global Engagement and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, along with research theme leaders Professor Farzana Shain, Professor Anthony Kauders and Professor Ronnie Lippens. Ruth Smeeth MP, Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North, also delivered a keynote speech, highlighting some of the challenges faced by many people in North Staffordshire and beyond that will shape the work of the Institute for Social Inclusion.

Professor David Amigoni, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Keele University, commented:

“I am delighted to be part of the launch of the Keele Institute for Social Inclusion. Keele's research aims to make a difference regionally, nationally and internationally; both in terms of its rigour and significance but also in terms of its impact on real lives and societal challenges. Ensuring that it includes and listens to the diversity of voices from the communities we serve is an important way of demonstrating its rigour, significance and impact.”

For more information, see the Keele Institute for Social Inclusion website